Chapter 17: Creative methods for listening to children in research

Activity 1: Design a piece of research

Imagine you are designing a piece of research to examine children’s appreciation of a museum or art gallery, which has opened a new interactive space aimed at younger visitors. The museum/gallery is especially keen to reach children with disabilities as well as families from the local, ethnically and linguistically diverse community.

Your aim is to elicit the perspectives of children aged 3–5 years of this new environment, which they will have an opportunity to visit on a few occasions. The children attend a local nursery/school. Half of the children come from multilingual homes and there are two children with a sensory impairment amongst this group (one has a sight impairment and the other, a hearing impairment). The nursery/school has a long history of involving parents/carers directly in its work. Imagine that you are a researcher who does not work in this nursery/school.

Note down some different ways in which you could elicit the perspectives of children of this age range, drawing on what you have learnt from Chapter 17 of the book (looking at ‘creative’ methods) and any other relevant reading you have undertaken. As you do this, think about how all children can participate in this research project and try to justify the method in relation to this proposed research project, as well as thinking through its possible limitations. You may find the table below useful.

A study exploring young children’s appreciation of a museum/gallery

Proposed method

How will this method support the aims of the study?

What might you need to know further, e.g. about the children, the nursery/school or the museum/gallery space, in order to assess the suitability of the method in this research project?

Possible limitations of the method

















Research may employ a range of different methods in a project, but it is unlikely that you would use all the methods you have thought of. Researchers also need to think about how methods fit together in terms of a cohesive research design and so might employ different methods at different stages of the research. In stating that you should imagine yourself to be a researcher new to the nursery/school, you would also need to think about your relationship with the children and the possible impact of this on the kinds of methods you might employ. Also, given that this piece of research centres on a nursery/school (in terms of the child participants) and a museum/gallery, there are adults who might be supportive of this project. Make a list of who they might be, based on information given. How might they be able to help you in eliciting the perspectives of the children?